inclined to quarrel or fight readily; quarrelsome; belligerent; combative.

Origin of pugnacious

1635–45; pugnaci(ty) (< Latin pugnācitās combativeness, equivalent to pugnāci-, stem of pugnāx combative (akin to pugil; see pugilism) + -tās -ty2) + -ous
Related formspug·na·cious·ly, adverbpug·nac·i·ty [puhg-nas-i-tee] /pʌgˈnæs ɪ ti/, pug·na·cious·ness, nounun·pug·na·cious, adjectiveun·pug·na·cious·ly, adverbun·pug·na·cious·ness, noun

Synonyms for pugnacious

Antonyms for pugnacious

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pugnacity

Contemporary Examples of pugnacity

Historical Examples of pugnacity

  • Her expression lost its pugnacity and became sincerely concerned.

  • We must defend ourselves, so the instinct of pugnacity is born.

    The Mind and Its Education

    George Herbert Betts

  • The 'Mercury' missed his power of organisation, his splendid gift of pugnacity.

    Grey Town

    Gerald Baldwin

  • The struggling crowd had lashed his pugnacity and ensanguined his temper.

    The Californians

    Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

  • Celtic, he thought, from her pugnacity, and her taste in fillets and djibbahs.

British Dictionary definitions for pugnacity



readily disposed to fight; belligerent
Derived Formspugnaciously, adverbpugnacity (pʌɡˈnæsɪtɪ) or pugnaciousness, noun

Word Origin for pugnacious

C17: from Latin pugnāx
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for pugnacity

c.1600, from Latin pugnacitas "fondness for fighting," from pugnax (genitive pugnacis) "combative" (see pugnacious).



1640s, a back-formation from pugnacity or else from Latin pugnacis, genitive of pugnax "combative, fond of fighting," from pugnare "to fight," especially with the fists, "contend against," from pugnus "a fist," from PIE *pung-, nasalized form of root *peuk-, *peug- "to stick, stab, to prick" (cf. Greek pyx "with clenched fist," pygme "fist, boxing," pyktes "boxer;" Latin pungere "to pierce, prick").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper